Thursday, June 16, 2005

MFAT's view: it's all about trade

Hope for trade boost from Musharraf visit

The story summarises statistics from MFAT's country paper on Pakistan, for those who didn't know that we export almost nothing over there and hardly ever talk to them. But somehow, it fails to mention even MFAT's marvellous understatement that "Pakistan’s human rights situation remains difficult". I wonder what they said about Saddam's Iraq? "Troublesome"?

MFAT's focus here is solely on trade - and they are willing to sell our souls in order to get it. Aren't they supposed to be sticking up for our other values as well?


Human Rights are universal - they apply to everybody, everywhere. MFAT is not being asked to bring nirvana to Pakistan - merely to brief our Prime Minister on the gross human rights abuses that take place in that country on a constant basis so she can raise the issue with the Pakistani dictator when he visits. I expect nothing less from the public servants I pay my taxes to support. If MFAT can't do any better than this, I say we scrap it completely and spend the money on raising pay rates for caregivers in rest homes.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/16/2005 11:05:00 AM

Our foreign relations, like every other activity of our government, must be subject to democratic oversight. Do you think its appropriate that MFAT just sweeps this stuff under the carpet, and hides it from the public? And do you think its appropriate that when we have a PM and a government which cares significantly about human and womens rights, they fail to brief her on the very real human and womens rights issues in Pakistan?

I don't expect miracles. I know that change takes time. But I do expect our government to raise these issues on our behalf, and to try and prod Pakistan in the right direction, rather than simply giving them a blank cheque.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/16/2005 11:41:00 AM